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English Usage
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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #61
04-03-2011 03:37 PM

Robin Wrote:
Got to take the dog out...

And no doubt not just the dog, you need to take all the baggage, connotations, flavour, and penumbra of the dog. And I'm sure you will put its 'history' in a designated bin.

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Ghis


Posts: 321
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #62
04-03-2011 06:10 PM

As rshdunlop mentioned I was not after a definition (having studied latin for 8 years and having had a past interest in photography and set lightning), but a clarification on the context of word.

What do YOU mean by it? Do you mean that words convey a shadow of various levels of darkness based on the angle one chose to experience them from, the varying level of darkness being used here to convey that people get different emotional responses to the particular word?

So if I understand you find the word "Poo" irritating because to you it is a misspelling of a childish term used in an adult discussion context (wrong word / wrong context).

Well I actually understand what you mean. When a language is rich enough to have various alternatives why limit yourself to a safe, slightly mutted word (because child terms are always less offensive and make you feel safer)?

It is a question of priority though: conveying a message quickly, a preference for more mutted words and at the end a personal choice.

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #63
05-03-2011 12:23 AM

Blimey O'Riley! Talk about breaking a butterfly on a wheel. Look, I'd never dream of patronisng all you learned ladies and gents by explaining to you on this forum what 'penumbra' (in its primary sense) means. Obviously, you all know that already. However, both Jon and Dr D seemed to have difficulty in understanding my metaphorical use of it. I therefore thought I'd be obliging and give an example of its metaphorical use as quoted in the OED. Beyond that, I HAVE NOTHING TO ADD. I wasn't trying to be subtle, it was just a word that came into my head as conveying roughly the sort of meaning I had in mind.

Actually, I find it difficult to believe that you learned ladies and gents didn't have a good enough idea if what I was trying to get over - I suspect you were just trying to wind me up. But if I'm wrong I WITHDRAW THE WORD. I'm quite happy to admit it may have been INAPPROPRIATE OR INSUFFICIENTLY PRECISE. OK? 'Penumbra', unlike 'poo', is not a very interesting word, in my opinion. (If others disagree, they will no doubt continue to discuss it amongst themselves.)

Could I just make two comments on 'Thisgirl''s latest? First, isn't to say a word is just a collection of letters a bit like saying a poem is just a collection of words or a ballet is just a lot of people moving their arms and legs around? Second, how would your idea that it's entirely up to individuals to decide whether to use a certain word apply, for example, to the word beginning with N which used to be commonly applied to black people?

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #64
23-03-2011 11:55 AM

Quote:
'Rooves' was the plural I was taught back in the 1970s - like 'hoof' and 'hooves' - but I think 'roofs' is more common now.


Thus Dunlop on another thread. How interesting. Fowler's Modern Engish Usage (1926) recognizes only 'roofs'. I must say I've never come across 'rooves' before, even though I learnt my spelling even longer ago than Dunlop.

I did however find this on WikiAnswers:

Quote:
The plural of roof is roofs or rooves. "Rooves" is an older form of the word and rarely used these days. Australian children right up to the 1980s, for example, were brought up with the word "rooves" rather than roofs, and it is still an accepted form in Australia today (though uncommon). Also, despite New Zealand English developing from UK English, it should be noted that in NZ, the plural of roof is rooves, in both its written and spoken form.

The accepted plural is "roofs". The Oxford English Dictionary lists "rooves" as an alternate, one of several outdated spellings used in the UK, and in New England as late as the 19th c


Perhaps Dunlop was brought up in the Antipodes?

My wife and I disagree on how the word should be pronounced. She (posh Cornwall) makes the u short (as in the Northern pronunciation of 'puff'). I (middle class Midlands) make it long (as in 'coot') and the OED seems to support this.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #65
23-03-2011 01:27 PM

Not the Antipodes, but Northern Ireland, as was (I think, although I may be wrong) Roz, who used 'rooves' first in that particular thread. So maybe it is also more common in Ireland.

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thenutfield


Posts: 235
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #66
23-03-2011 11:25 PM

Don't all words that end with an 'f' use 'v' in the plural. Not just roof and rooves but calf, half, loaf,leaf, knife etc?

(funny, just noticed that the forum spell-checker doesn't like rooves!)

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #67
24-03-2011 09:34 AM

Fowler has a list. Most if not all words ending in '-f' can have '-ves' in the plural, but Fowler prefers '-fs' in the case of 'oaf' (which I see is of Norse origin, if that's relevant, and originally meant 'goblin's child'), 'staff' ('staves' is 'archaic and musical'), 'turf' (?) and 'wharf' (he says 'wharves' is American).

Fowler doesn't discuss 'dwarf'. The OED gives 'dwarfs' as the plural (as in 'Snow White and the Seven...'), but Tolkien preferred 'dwarves' in his stories (on what basis, I can't say) and that form has consequently gained some ground over recent years.

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #68
24-03-2011 09:42 AM

I don't think we should tolerate these minor grammatical mistakes and variations. Those responsible should be hung Wink from the nearest lamppost.

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #69
24-03-2011 09:56 AM

Ah yes, the question of the choice between the weak and strong forms of the past tense and the past participle. Don't start me off. I had a letter published in 'The Independent' some time ago about the strange death of 'proved' and its replacement by the ?Scottish/?American 'proven'. ('I have proven Pythagoras's theorem in a new and elegant way')

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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #70
25-03-2011 08:40 AM

I have looked into rooves and yes it is more common in Ireland.
David Crystal's books about the origins and development of the English language are very informative. When I have time I'll post a link here. Basically there are more non native English speakers and people with English as a second language than there are native hence many existing varieties exist already none of which could be said to be grammatically correct or not which poses a few issues for English language teaching.

There is also a large Northern Irish influence on NZ and American English which might explain the use of rooves in NZ where many of my distant relatives have ended up! It certainly explains why the English eat spring onions and the Irish and Americans eat scallions!

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #71
25-03-2011 10:16 AM

According to the OED, in the US 'scallion' can also mean what we call leeks and shallots as well as spring onions. It can also mean, not just in the US apparently, 'Welsh onion' (whatever that is).

Apparently the origin of the word is '[onion from] Ascalon' (in what is now Israel). It is first found in English in the fourteenth century:
'For thy lyff and thy barouns
He wyl not geve two skalouns.'

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #72
25-03-2011 11:29 AM

When I lived in the States, a scallion was what the English call a soring onion. A leek was a leek.

The one that confused me was a 'jumper', which in America means a pinafore dress. There was lots of confusion when I was ordering my daughter's school uniform.

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #73
25-03-2011 11:56 AM

When in America I always got funny looks when I said I was cold and needed to put on a jumper. They were surprised that my wardrobe should include such garments.

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #74
25-03-2011 12:19 PM

Now, 'jumper', that's an interesting word. For some reason, it was never used in my East Midland home when I was a boy, and it doesn't come naturally to my lips now. We said 'pullover' (male) or 'jersey' (unisex). 'Sweater' was rather frowned on, I think, as being slightly vulgar - and one thing we weren't allowed to be was vulgar!

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #75
27-04-2011 03:52 PM

Martha's Mum said (in the 'People knocking on the door asking for a roof survey' thread):

Quote:
Is that a word - Viri?



This is more interesting than I would have guessed. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the plural 'viruses', which is what I would naturally use. It comes from the Latin word 'virus', which means 'slimy liquid' and I have always assumed that word is masculine and fourth declension (so plural 'virus', with a long 'u') rather than second (which would normally give 'viri' as the plural if it were masculine like almost all second declension nouns)

However it appears (see this Wikipaedia article) that 'virus' in Latin is an uncountable 'mass noun' and therefore doesn't have a plural. Scholars also dispute whether it is in fact second or fourth declension. In any case, it appears that it is neuter rather than masculine and therefore perhaps one of the very rare second declension neuter nouns. In that case one might form a plural 'vira' for the word in its modern sense. 'Viri' would in any case be highly irregular, although according to Wikipaedia it was one time quite commonly used in computing circles.

'Viruses' is probably safest!

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marthasmum


Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011
Post: #76
27-04-2011 05:35 PM

... I've gotton me coat.

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #77
27-04-2011 08:06 PM

Quote:
...perhaps one of the very rare second declension neuter nouns

...'with a nominative singular ending in -us', I should have added.

Quote:
... I've gotton me coat.

(Martha's Mum)

?

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mgmonkey


Posts: 96
Joined: May 2009
Post: #78
27-04-2011 10:01 PM
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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #79
28-04-2011 08:22 AM

Thanks, mgmonkey. I needed to see that. Oh dear. Ah well.

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Theotherbrian


Posts: 86
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #80
28-04-2011 04:52 PM

A bit late on this one, I know but surely Michael wishes for those grammatical miscreants to be hanged from the lamp posts and not hung??

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